Cast a Wide Net: Video Transcript

Sean Kavanagh (BA Sociology and Philosophy, Miami, 2009) [U.S. Department of Defense, working on international arms control treaties and non-proliferation agreements that combat the threat of weapons of mass destruction]: I first became interested in sociology when I was taking introductory sociology courses here at Miami. I found that sociology was a discipline that was taking a unique perspective looking at the social world, our accepted narratives around a number of different social issues, and looking at things that most people on a day-to-day basis take for granted. So I think just being an intellectually curious person was what attracted me to being a sociology major.

Being able to engage professors and have discussions with them about what career options are available to students was for me one of the best experiences. So talking through with professors in the sociology department, Dr. [C. Lee] Harrington and Dr. [Marty] Jendrek, talking with them and having them ask me to just think about the characteristics of a career that I would want. So I think the relationship certainly that you develop with your friends, your faculty, and all the professors here at Miami is certainly the most rewarding for me when I look back at my time at Miami.

The thematic sequence here at Miami is something that exposed you and something that college students might not always be excited about at the outset. But I think it's crucial to get involved in classes and subjects that are not necessarily in your lane, to sort of broaden your career perspectives, and broaden what's out there in terms of the job market after Miami.

The skills that you're developing as a sociology major, reading and writing skills, being able to speak and communicate concisely, and to be able to understand group behavior and accepted narratives — I think that is applicable to a number of different career fields. I think it's very applicable to folks who might interested in marketing. I also think that it is very applicable for folks who might be interested in working in the government, and for folks who might be interested in doing research, research methods, looking at group behavior, looking at deviations and seeing how society is very valuable, a very valuable skill set that can be applied to a number of different research topics. The perspective that sociology offers on social issues, issues of national security, is a very unique perspective, questioning things that most people take for granted, how our accepted narratives in society contribute to how a country might achieve its security objectives.

Take advantage of all the resources that Miami has to offer. Make sure you go in and talk to the people in Career Services, make sure you talk to your professors, make sure you talk to your peers about potential career options moving forward after Miami. The other thing I would say is that it's important to do is to cast a wide net. If you're looking at internships, if you're applying to different positions, one of the things that you need coming out of Miami is that first foot in the door, that first professional experience. That can come in lots of different shapes, ways, and forms. Have a broad outlook, don't be so narrowly focused on one thing that you're ruling out other opportunities.

[October 2015]